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Library Binding Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People and War Book

ISBN: 0395465559

ISBN13: 9780395465554

Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People and War

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Format: Library Binding

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Book Overview

A zookeeper recounts the story of John, Tonky, and Wanly, three performing elephants at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, whose turn it is to die, and of their keepers, who weep and pray that World War II will... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Excellent for any age- INCLUDING CHILDREN!!

After reading the previous comments, I felt the need to stand for this book. I had to read it in college as part of my teacher elementary education program to evaluate books for children. This one is given the highest of marks by the true ratings of a teacher- not just the publishers. It teaches children the background of war, how it affects everyone, and the true love of people for animals. If you want to teach your children humility and caring for others, read them this book. If you want to teach cause and effect, read this book. If you want to teach effects of war, read this book. If you expect dry eyes in your class, you will be surprised! Some of the best literature I have used in my classroom brought tears, but it brought true and full teaching of standards. You will be shocked, but if you want a wholesome child- read this book. Children know about the world, even though their ideas are skewed or not fully formed. Help them learn. Learn with the heart, and the mind will follow. I will forever read this book in my classroom! My 4th graders would love it because believe it or not, during free reading, they are pulling books about war. Do the right thing and give them another side! The side of hurt and love, and they might not be so quick to judge others. Teach them humility and care for their friends and animals. They won't forget it!

A mesmerizing story of the love of three elephants

I also am a 22 year old college student who read this book in my adolescent reading and writing class and I am responding to the negative remarks left by the 21 year old college student. Not only is this book a great read, it teaches a lesson and does not portray America as the enemy, but rather war in general. There in no mention of the US in the entire book. Yes, it will bring a tear to your eye and it should. This book does not graphical illustrate the death of these elephants, rather it tells of the tremendous pain felt by the zookeepers. These elephants loved the zookeepers and they loved them and this book shows how war not only effects soldiers but the lives of many, including elephants. I highly recommend sharing this book to your kids, classroom or to read for yourself, you will not be disappointed.

A difference between the Japanese and English versions

I've read this book in English and recently in Japanese with the help of a Japanese friend. The Japanese version I read was the same story, but written and illustrated by different people (a man named Mamoru Tanabe was the author of the version I read). At any rate, the Japanese version made mention of something that I don't think is included in this English translation. The official reason from Tokyo for killing the elephants was that in the event that Tokyo was bombed, the cages could be destroyed and the animals might be let loose upon the city. But the book also says that although that was the official reason, the underlying reason that government officials probably had in mind was to show the people of Japan that in this war, they would have to be ready to sacrifice anything for their country. If it was necessary, the lives of animals or even other people would have to be given up for the good of Japan. A previous reviewer mentioned the same thing, but as far as I remember the English version of the story doesn't address that idea at all. So for all those people wondering why the elephants had to die in such a cruel way, there's your answer: to show the Japanese people the true horrors of war, and make them feel ready to sacrifice anything in order to bring that war to an end.

A book for people who against war

First let me apology for my bad English.I notice that some of reviewers wonder that why the elephants are not killed by gun.Actually it is the same question I had before.I like this book so I checked the background of this story.One reviewer in here wrote that gOther animals are killed by gunh.Ifm afraid to say it is wrong information. Mr. Saburo Fukuda, who was in charge of Ueno zoo, was commanded to eliminate all the beast of prey in the zoo IN SECRET by Japanese military. Therefore gun was not allowed to use because it would make gun shot noise. However gun was strictly forbidden for normal civilians anyway. The elephants were not only animal who were killed cruelly. Many animals didnft eat poisoned food, so some of them are killed by rope, by knife, by any means but not gun. I notice that some reviewer also says it is a propaganda to hide the cruelness of Japanese military.I donft take that point. In my opinion, this story is strong censure against war and Japanese military itself. The cruel and unreasonable decision was maid by Japanese military and it is mentioned in this story. I agree that Japanese military did horrible things to many people and other countries, and this story is one of the examples of the cruelness. I strongly recommend any people who against war.

Not a children's book?

I have just read the French version of this book (Fideles Elephants) which won a Governor General's Award in Canada, and was checking to see about buying the English version. I just read all the reviews here and must agree with all of them... even the one stating it is propaganda. It is propaganda: anti-war and anti-cruelty propaganda. And I also have no idea why they did not just shoot those poor elephants... illogical and very humanly cruel behaviour.As a result of people's fears (we never do learn if indeed the zoo was ever damaged) that damaged cages would result in rampaging wild animals, all the "dangerous" ones are killed, and the elephants end up being starved to death, while they faithfully attempt to extract food from their keepers (captors? torturers?)by repeating the entertaining routines they have been trained to do. I would not recommend this book for small children and am astonished to see this in the picture book sections... I would have had nightmares for years as a child. As an adult, I find the image of these elephants attempting to carry out their routines when they are too weak to stand absolutely indelible and horrific. I cried reading the book, I cried in a coffeeshop trying to tell a friend about it, and thinking about it now makes me want to lock my arms around my torso and cry. I don't know if it is an indictment of war, or perhaps of zoos, or of human inaction ("easier" to let something die of neglect than actively shoot it... so many of our tragedies in life result from this sort of inaction).A book I want to recommend to everyone, and at the same time protect them from. And then I think, no, that is just protecting them from a true story, reality. And reality even this poetic is just appallingly sad. Read and weep.

A moving true story...

The Faithful Elephants is one of the most heart-wrenching stories I have ever read. I use this book to introduce another book -- Hiroshima -- to the high school sophomores that I teach. Adolescents sometimes have difficulty displaying emotion when it comes to others, but that difficulty is gone when animals enter into the picture. Those kids who don't flinch at the thought of the suffering endured by other humans can scarcely hold back tears when it comes to innocent animals. The illustrations have stuck in my mind since I first read it. If you're going to be reading it to others -- read it to yourself first -- it's guaranteed to bring out tears in the least demonstrative of all of us! I highly recommend this book to everyone -- but it may bring out a little too much sorrow in the very young.
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